To be honest, I’m not much one for current poetry. I’m more into the 17th century literature poetry… but Rita Wong is a good writer. Some of the poems I had trouble following, but several of them are responses to certain acts or events in the current news or in on-going discussions.
However, I particularly enjoyed the layout with quotations around the border of a number of poems and pages. Sometimes the quote would enlighten you as to the influence of the poem, or supplement the facts regarding Rita Wong’s passion for the cause.
I believe my favourite poem was entitled ‘forage, fumage‘ and was about how the current Western Provinces used to belong to various native tribes and how the names we currently use all have special meanings in those Native Languages. There are definitions included in the script around the border as well as an endnote after the poem; languages such as Iroquois, Cree, Algonquin, Salish. There is also a note about how the Eastern / Maritime Provinces bear more European-based names. Very interesting.
Some other subject matter included: pollution, war, drugs, urbanization, social housing, Vancouver and the downtown Eastside, genetic modification, and a number of articles or books that Rita Wong gives credit to for the inspiration of the poem.
- BC Book Prize Winner 2008 – Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize
- Nightwood Editions
- Interview with Rita Wong at 12 or 20 Questions
- Praise for Forage
- Biography & Books
Full disclosure: I read a copy of the book that we received in the office. This situation did not affect my review in any way, shape or form.